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  #1  
Old 01-14-2018, 08:43 AM
Pizza Bob Pizza Bob is offline
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Blade Tech

I don't know if any of you have noticed it, but Blade Tech is going through some sort of transition. At this point, not a good thing.

I shoot IDPA, USPSA and ICORE and, depending on the gun, Blade Tech was my go to holster. I have quite a few in my holster drawer. It is also my go to recommendation for any new shooters entering the competition arena. It was a quality product, well engineered in the options offered and they had applications for just about anything.

The other day I had a friend, who is going to try their hand at competing with a revolver, ask what holster I used for my S&W 625 PC. I told him Blade Tech. After we spoke I went on Blade Tech's website and found that there is not even a holster listed for a 625 anymore. Then I started looking for other offerings and had similar results.

Blade Tech has greatly reduced the number of applications for which they make holsters. It also appears that they have started a new line of injection-molded holsters in addition to the Revolution line.

I sent them an inquiry, via their website, and got back a very generic e-mail that disclosed nothing of what was going on and just said "Thanks for the inquiry, blah, blah, blah..." I called them on it and here is what I received:

Blade-Tech streamlined our product offering to make the process of transitioning to our new system possible. We have determined which products should be offered at this time according to customer popularity and interest. We are definitely considering bringing back certain holsters in the future based on customer demand in our product inquiry.

I don't know what their "new system" is, but I am of the school "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I don't understand why they would have to reduce their offerings - all they need to stock are flat sheets of Kydex. It's not like they have to inventory hundreds of unique SKU's. Nor does it require expensive injection molding equipment.

As I said, I don't know what's going on, but at this point I long for the old Blade Tech. Maybe as their "transition" progresses I'll change my mind, but it will take a lot for that to happen.

Adios,

Pizza Bob
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2018, 09:07 AM
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Ricky T Ricky T is offline
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Agree. I don't like their new thinner, flimsier plastic that they use now. Neither do I like their belt attachment methods on their OWB holsters. I prefer the old one piece folded 1/8" kydex with folded slotted belt loops. They were stronger and more concealable and slimmer than the current belt attachments.

You should look at www.comp-tac.com. But I don't think they offer a whole lot more than BT either.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:21 AM
retsgt retsgt is offline
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You also might want to try Alabama Holsters. They offer a folded over belt loop for their kydex holster line. I was looking for an alternative to the Blade Tech offerings as well. Didn't care for their belt attachments either. I have several BT holsters that are older that have the folded belt loop and I still use them from time to time.
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2018, 10:16 AM
jtq jtq is offline
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That change is very recent. I'm at Blade-Tech's site pretty often, grabbing it as a link for somebody that needs a holster for some odd-ball gun. Looking today after seeing your post did surprise me.

Blade-Tech used to be the maker of last resort in some instances as they've been around so long, they seemed to cover just about every gun possible. It's going to be tough to lose a maker like that.

Raven Concealment (RCS Gear) just dropped their Phantom holster that has been their signature holster for a decade or so. It seems like there is a shake up of some kind in the holster business going on.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2018, 10:57 PM
L84CABO L84CABO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post

Raven Concealment (RCS Gear) just dropped their Phantom holster that has been their signature holster for a decade or so. It seems like there is a shake up of some kind in the holster business going on.
More than that, it seems like Raven is MOSTLY making holsters for Glocks...and ONLY Glocks. I thought their Eidolon was a great design for AIWB. Been out for years though and only made for Glocks. And so far, the holster that replaced the phantom is only made for Glocks. It's very strange.
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2018, 09:57 AM
HoraceSwaby HoraceSwaby is offline
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Forming sheets of Kydex into holsters is slow and laborious.

Folded over Kydex for belt attachments isn't as robust as injection molded attachments, and are a frequent failure point.

I suspect that Blade Tech and Raven are just trying to streamline product offerings and manufacturing, like most other successful businesses.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:21 AM
YVK YVK is offline
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My last two Blade Tech holsters, I had to dremel for an appropriate trigger guard clearance. Never had to do it before. Don't know if it s a sign of times changing, or just me.
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2018, 10:51 PM
trooper894 trooper894 is offline
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I have been a Blade Tech customer for close to 25 years and have 15+ of their holsters, needless to say I have been a fan. However over the last year or so I have seen them transition to much cheaper injection molded holsters and customer service has deteriorated terribly. My last two holsters will be my last and I made sure they were made aware of that fact. Ordered a standard Nano IWB for a new S&W M&P 9mm compact and the holster looked ok but the fit around the trigger guard was so bad there was virtually no friction at all and you couldn't tighten the tension screw tight enough. The last holster ordered was for a Klipt for a S&W M&P 45acp Shield. When the order arrived they had sent a Klipt for a 9mm Shield but I was invoiced for the proper 45acp model. When I called them to report the error I was told they were out of the 45acp model, didn't know when they would have them so they sent the 9mm model, WTH!!!!. In order to get the 45acp model I ordered & paid for, I was told that I would have to return the wrong holster, AT MY EXPENSE, then they would try to send the correct one! Another company that the second generation has run into the ground.

Last edited by trooper894; 03-29-2018 at 10:53 PM. Reason: correction
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2018, 11:57 AM
luke213 luke213 is offline
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Note this is purely speculation on my part, I don't make kydex holsters nor injection molded rigs, but I am in the industry and I do know a fair bit about both.

So I think you're seeing two things at once here, as mentioned above kydex is more time consuming than injection molding. But also injection molding is expensive to start, but much cheaper to make a bunch of. Kydex as a material has allot of faults, like anything and holsters from it share those faults. Leather also does, so don't look at this as me calling out all kydex holsters. But there are other poly materials which make a better holster than kydex, and I'd say injection molding could very well make a better holster that lasts longer than kydex will in the same application and be cheaper to buy and make. BUT and it's a big but the mold has to be right, and changing it is expensive, so we're likely going to see problems that wouldn't have come out of a normal shop where you can easily tweak a line here or there, sand a little more with the hands on nature of kydex that just won't be handled that way anymore.

It makes sense from a business side of things because none of us really know the failure rates of their rigs either Raven or BladeTech but I'd say there has to be a fair amount just based on kydex's weakness to repeated flexing(and I could be wrong here take it with a grain of salt). My own experiences over the years messing with kydex and making a ton of clips that failed over time(which led me to use my own custom spring steel clips), that sort of thing. In my own business after replacing a ton of clips, I swapped to steel zero issues since. I have guys who ask for the poly clips since that's what they had before I explain why I swapped and get them to try the metal and they are happy. But I guess the point is most guys seeing my site, my business don't know the failure rate of my clips it's not something I advertise. I replaced all of mine free over the years also but it was a PITA and I should have stayed with metal from the start. But these two companies could have seem something like that also and led the transition to more injection molded rigs.

Also for that move each holster, and hand needs it's own die and mold which is expensive and time consuming, so expect lower number of supported guns and likely slower roll outs than kydex. In kydex you basically need to prep a dummy gun and you're done less than $100 in most cases and you support a new gun. And you don't have much to pay back so to speak, if you spend say $10,000 on molding stuff(I have no idea if this is accurate), and you only sell 50 of that model a year, that's not really going to make much sense.

Again just my opinion, no knock at all on either company or kydex in general just the way I see it likely is going.

Luke
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